Chronic Back Pain and Gate Control Theory

Chronic back pain is a common disease that affects many people, especially the ones aged 35 – 55. It is quite difficult to detect the causes of this pain, but it is usually considered to be related to the strain in one of the structural components of the back. A chronic back pain is the one that is lasting longer than a month.

It can be caused by many reasons, such as long period of standing or sitting, having a fall, lifting or carrying heavy objects, stress, overweight, etc. There are several ways of treatment of the chronic back pain, including tacking various medicines, physical therapies, surgery, psychological therapy, complementary therapy.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The Gate Control Theory provides the methods of the chronic back pain therapy based on the work of mind and brain regarding pain perception. In this paper, we are going to discuss the methods of pain control based on the Gate Control Theory and how the Gate Control Theory relates to cultural explanations regarding the sensation of pain. We will also consider a possibility to completely eliminate pain by applying the Gate Control Theory.

The Gate Control Theory was developed by Patrick Wall and Ronald Melzack in 1960s. The theory suggests that there are systems in the central nervous system responsible for the transmitting the “pain messages” through the brain. These systems can open or close “gates” that let in or block the pain.

This process can be explained by the work of neurotransmitters: “when a nerve impulse comes to the end of the axon and reaches a terminal button releases a chemical courier called a neurotransmitter” (Ryan, 2011). The Gate Control Theory describes the phenomena of the mental nature, but with regard to the processes that occur in the nervous system.

Although, there are no detailed explanation of how these processes occur and regulated, the Gate Control Theory help explain why different treatments might be effective to manage the chronic back pain, “The effectiveness of nonpharmacological pain-management strategies can be explained by the Gate Control Theory and the processes responsible for the transmission of pain” (Simpson and Creehan, 2007). Thus, acupuncture is one of the alternative medicines based on the Gate Control Theory. However, there are also:

“Opioid analgesics act on synaptic transmission in various parts of the central nervous system by binding to natural opioid receptors. They inhibit ascending pathways of pain perception and activate descending pathways” (Freudenrich, n. d.).

Thought, they can become addictive. The massage is another method of back pain relief. In order to prevent or reduce the back pain, one should combine these methods.

Our sensation of pain can be explained by the Gate Control Theory as it is related to the work of mind. Our cultural background plays an important role. Thus, our beliefs and values, memories of previous pain, upbringing, expectations of and attitudes towards pain affect how we interpret the pain. (“Pain and How You Sense It, n. d.).

Thus, the information mentioned earlier suggests that we can eliminate pain by applying the Gate Control Theory. However, in order to do this, a number of various methods based on the Gate Control Theory should be applied during course of treatment.

In conclusion, it should be said that the Gate Control Theory can provide a basis for the treatment of the chronic back pain. Moreover, with its help, we can explain how f cultural background can influence our sensation of pain. In addition, a balanced course of treatment based on the Gate Control Theory can help eliminate pain completely.

List of References

Freudenrich, C. (n. d.) How pain works. Discovery Health. Retrieved from:

Pain and how you sense it. (n. d.) For Healthy Australia. Retrieved from:

Ryan, M. (Ed.). (2011). Psychsmart. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Simpson, K. R., and Creehan, P. A. (2007). Perinatal nursing. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


I'm Morris!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out